Explicit Instruction: Literacy
There are great resources already out there in terms of age appropriate and interesting texts at levels accessible to all types of learners. One of those resources is News2You. News2You publishes a weekly unit on engaging topics and current events. Based around differentiated texts, this resource also develops extension activities. One additional aspect that I wanted to include, however, was a lesson that helped me see what my students already knew about the topic. With many of them having so many gaps in their learning, a background knowledge lesson also helped calibrate the group and get everyone on the same page.
In keeping with the inquiry theme, I tried to develop a prior knowledge activity adapted from the KWL strategy (What do I know, want to know and what did I learn).
Using the pictures as visual supports, students chose pictures that finished the sentence, ‘I know that Monarch Butterflies…..’ At its most basic, this was just a choice activity. But as I scaffolded the lesson, picture boards contained additional distrators, or students had to find pictures and words on their own. If additional challenge was needed, I asked students to think of their own responses without visual prompts. Once each student had a collection of pictures and words to describe their thinking, they made a title page for the unit. By the end of the lesson we had a compilation of title pages filled with words, pictures, symbols which all met the same goal!
Goal Area: Literacy-Activating prior knowledge
Literacy Level– Emergent
Support Link: News2You